Nebraska Cattlemen Influences National Policy


In a year of canceled, postponed or “new normal” shifts to virtual meetings, the thought of the 2020 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Summer Business Meeting remaining an in-person gathering was exciting, yet nerve wracking. A smaller-than-usual delegation of Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) members traveled to Denver with a file full of Nebraska grassroots-developed policy resolutions for national consideration.

The week of meetings began in the Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee, where the first NC-drafted policy was heard. The Livestock Biosecurity Education and Planning policy directs NCBA to work with stakeholders to develop and disseminate materials needed to assist cattlemen to prepare for foreign animal disease challenges in the United States. These programs, like the Secure Beef Supply plan, are critical to ensure business continuity in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak. NC also backed policy to support U.S. CattleTrace programs. U.S. CattleTrace is an industry-driven entity tasked with developing a producer-driven disease traceability system. NC policy has long supported traceability for disease control purposes and insisted that the data should be held by a non-government entity that is producer driven.

NC members covered the microphones – providing leadership, context, and direction during more than six hours of debate to identify policy changes that would address industrywide concerns regarding diminishing levels of price discovery in negotiated fed cattle markets. Nebraska Cattlemen was among more than 20 NCBA state affiliates that developed and presented policy to directly address the need for increased negotiated trade volumes to researched, regionally specific robust price discovery levels. After intense debate, a compromise was developed to have NCBA pursue legislative or regulatory solutions to price discovery issues if current voluntary efforts to improve negotiated fed cattle trade volumes are not successful in achieving regionally robust price discovery levels – aligning with NC Marketing and Commerce policy. Triggers to identify when legislative or regulatory efforts are needed will be developed by the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing working group by Oct. 1, 2020. The policy compromise passed unanimously by the Live Cattle Marketing Committee.

NC-supported policy on accessible broadband for rural areas was adopted in NCBA’s Ag and Food Policy Committee. The divide between rural and urban access to broadband was emphasized by the COVID-19 crisis with more distance learning, tele-med services and no-contact government interaction. It is important for our members in rural Nebraska that an investment be made in broadband infrastructure.

Originally submitted by NC, steppedup basis interim tax policy that was brought forth and adopted at the Cattle Industry Convention earlier this year was adopted as official policy in the Tax and Credit Committee. NCBA supports stepped-up basis for assets in any future tax relief legislation.

Nebraska Cattlemen continue to be leaders at local, state and national levels. Past NC President Barb Cooksley remains the NCBA Region VII vice president, and Past NC President Mike Drinnin was elected to serve on the NCBA Nominating Committee. Stephen Sunderman concluded his tenure as the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Committee chairman, as did Scott Peterson as the NCBA Tax and Credit Committee chairman. NC member Buck Wehrbein continues his service as the Federation Division chairman. I’m grateful that leaders within our organization are willing to continue their service to the industry after serving on the NC Board of Directors.

As always, your NC leadership and staff are here to serve. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.

Written By: Ken Herz, NC President

Read More from the September 2020 Issue of the Nebraska Cattleman.

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